X-ray elemental mapping techniques for elucidating the ecophysiology of hyperaccumulator plants

by Dr Antony van der Ent (University of Queensland)

109 (25b)



Hyperaccumulators are plants that have the unusual ability to accumulate extreme concentrations of metal(loid)s in their living tissues. Plants have been found to hyperaccumulate a wide variety of elements, including nickel, manganese, cadmium, cobalt, selenium, arsenic and zinc. They are attractive models for studying metal(loid) homeostasis, and probing the spatial distribution and coordination chemistry of metal(loid)s in their tissues is important for advancing our understanding of their ecophysiology. X-ray elemental mapping techniques are unique in providing in situ information, and with appropriate sample preparation offer results true to biological conditions of the living plant. X-ray elemental mapping techniques can play a key role in answering questions at every level of metal(loid) homeostasis in plants, from the rhizosphere interface, to uptake pathways in the roots and shoots. This presentation will highlight several case studies on hyperaccumulator plants resulting from experiments undertaken at the Australian Synchrotron and the German Synchrotron (DESY). Antony van der Ent, The University of Queensland Antony is ecophysiologist and biogeochemist whose research focuses on the biopathways of various trace in soil and plant systems. He has a specific interest in the application of phytotechnologies that utilise hyperaccumulator plants (phytomining). He has had the opportunity to study hyperaccumulator plants on five continents including in the Chile, Zambia, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, New Caledonia and various countries in Europe. Since 2014, he has been leading a research initiative on phytomining at the Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation (CMLR) at The University of Queensland (UQ). His work has led to the discovery of 200 hyperaccumulator plant species new to science.